Berlin

Where will your dreams take you?

Berlin is not just the capital of Germany. It is a cosmopolitan city of many diverse neighborhoods, each offering something special for foodies, photographers, historians, shoppers, nature seekers, museum lovers and so much more. Berlin has been the stage for world-changing events throughout history, including the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a city full of artists, musicians, chefs, designers, students, beatniks, entrepreneurs, adventurers … frankly, it is a city for everyone and everyone is made to feel welcome. Discover Berlin with us through our photographs and stories. And, when you are ready to visit, be sure to download our free Berlin City Guide.

Entry Requirements (Passports and Visas)PASSPORTS: Citizens of European Union countries simply need a valid identity card. Citizens of any other country seeking to enter Germany will need a passport that is valid for at least four months from the date of entry into Germany. VISAS: Citizens of many countries outside the European Union may need a visa to visit Germany; however, U.S. citizens for example do not since the United States falls under the Schengen Agreement. That agreement allows for certain countries, such as the United States, to visit EU countries for up to 90 days every 180 days (i.e. approximately three months within a six-month period). Before planning travel, use the iVisa search function below to verify requirements.

Arriving By Train – It is easy to get to Berlin on either the fast train (InterCityExpress) or the other lines (InterCity, EuroCity, and InterRegio). For booking information, go to the Deutsche Bahn website here. Trains will depart or arrive primarily from the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin’s central train station and also its newest station), Ostbahnof (the east train station connects with S-Bahns going to Friedrichstraße, Alexanderplatz, or Bahnhof Zoo), and Südkreuz (north-south trains pass through here), Bahnhof Spandau (the ICE train from Hamburg / Hannover stops here).

Arriving By Plane – Most international travelers will arrive at Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) as of Oct. 31, 2020, after nearly 10 years of opening delays. The former TEGEL (TXL) airport is now closed while the former Schoenefeld (SXF) airport – formerly used primarily for intra-Europe and domestic flights — is simply “Terminal 5” at BER. BER is Terminals 1 and 2. To travel to and from Berlin’s main train station (“Hauptbahnhof”) and the airport (“Flughafen BER”), you will take either the airport express (FEX) train or regional trains (RE7 or RB14). The “Flughafen BER” station is below Terminal 1. The S-Bahn S9 and S45 also travel the route and also stop at “Terminal 5,” formerly SXF. Use these routes to transfer between Terminals 1/2 and 5. Refer to the links below in “Getting Around in Berlin” or above in “By Train” to check schedules.

Getting Around In Berlin

The official Berlin website offers detailed information regarding transportation, including ticket, fare and route map information. This is also the clearest way to understand the various tariff zones that Berlin is divided into — AB, BC and ABC.

U-Bahn, Bus, Tram  – (operated by BVG — bvg.de) Use the company’s Journey Planner to find the best routes combining all forms of public transportation, including the S-Bahn, between point A and B. Be sure to download the BVG app to use on your Android or iPhone.

S-Bahn – The local railway and a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn (the German railway system), and an often faster and more direct way to get places that are farther apart. It also runs mostly above ground.

Renting a car – Travel by car is very easy in Germany and renting a car relatively uncomplicated. But there are a few things to keep top of mind. First, many German towns and cities have designated low emission zones, meaning only certain vehicles meeting established low emission standards and bearing a color-coded sticker are permitted. Learn more about the emission stickers here. Second, while the autobahn has only suggested speed limits in places, in other places and on most other roads speed limits are strictly enforced, often with cameras. And those speed limits can change in a blink of an eye, typically right before a speed-trap camera catches you flying by. If you rent a car, stay within the speed limits at all times and drive carefully!

Language – The main language in Germany is indeed German (Deutsch). Many Germans, especially younger ones and those living in larger cities speak English sufficiently well that tourists and visitors who do not speak German or only “nicht sehr gut” (not so good) will be able to communicate just fine. Still, it’s always a good idea to learn a few German language basics so that you feel more comfortable shopping and in a restaurant.

Learn to speak a bit of German so you can get around more easily and don’t stand out as a tourist! Read our story Start to learn languages – Top language learning apps and websites.

Health – Ticks are prevalent in many forested regions in Germany and carry Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Be sure to use insect repellent and wear insect repellent clothing when walking in forests and fields. Ask your doctor about needing a TBE vaccination if you plan to spend significant time walking in forested areas.

For over-the-counter medications and seeking minor health issue advice (sore muscles, cough, cold, etc.) you will go to an Apotheka. Should you need a doctor or emergency care while in Germany, be sure your health insurance will cover you internationally — and at what level. We strongly advise purchasing travel insurance that that has emergency medical coverage sufficient enough to cover you in the event of an emergency.

Vaccinations – It is very important you understand what vaccinations and immunization proof is required before travel. The CDC Traveler’s Health page is your best and most up-to-date source for finding what shots are recommended and which are required for any country in the world.

Travel Advisories – Before you travel, we would recommend checking to see if there are any travel advisories or warnings issued for your intended country of travel. Also, for U.S. citizens, we do recommend that you register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

Emergencies – To reach the police, fire department or ambulance service, dial 112. Calling 112 is free from any landline or mobile phone. This is throughout Europe.

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Managing Money — The Euro is the currency in Germany. Use the calculator from Oanda below to help you manage your money exchanges and know how much something selling in Euro would cost in dollars.

Currency Converter by OANDA

Save some money with the Berlin Welcome Card

One price includes admission to museums, attractions, special tours, as well as public transportation.  Be sure to purchace your Berlin Welcome Card in advance and save.

 

Late spring to early autumn (think May through early October) are the best times to visit if you are seeking warmer, sunnier weather — this is also the most crowded time to visit as a result.

To check the latest weather for any destination you are thinking of heading to in Germany, visit our weather page complete with weather radar and minute-by-minute forecasting.

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